Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Swamp Terrain - The Silent Watcher

Here is the latest addition to my swamp board terrain. Like I did with the pillars in last week's blog post I wanted to try my hand at creating the look and feel of the environment slowly reclaiming man made structures. If you google search jungle ruins more than likely you will come across a picture of some ruins with trees growing on top of the structure and like with the pillars I wanted to make a tree growing on top of a giant skull structure. So let take a look at how I created this piece.

The idea for this piece came while buying food for my dog at a local pet store. I came across this skull with celtic-like engravings on it and figured I could do something with it for terrain.

First thing I did was pop out the jewel eyes and then with my dremel I removed the celtic symbols from most of the skull. Then I sanded the surface down to make it smooth.

Next I took a piece of clay and rolled it into a cylinder and put it on top of the skull. Then with smaller strips of clay I fashioned out the tree roots to look like they were snaking down the sides of the skull in order to anchor themselves into the earth.

I smoothed and blended the joins between the main trunk and the roots with my exacto blade and a wooden stick.

Then I let the clay dry for 48 hours. Once dried I smoothed out the rough areas with fine grain sand paper and my exacto knife.

Next I glued the skull to a piece of hard board and added in shale, sand and plaster blocks.

Before undercoating the piece I applied a couple of coats of water-down wood glue to the clay tree and tiles. Then I started to paint the piece using the same process used in all of the previous swamp terrain.

Here are some pictures of the finished piece.

Chaos Warrior for scale.


  1. Two things.

    1) That is a fantastic re purpose of something you found at a store. I tend to forget how we can just sand off the bits we don't like. Probably cost you 1/10th what it would have cost if it was a standard resin mould of a skull!

    2) Thanks for the model scale shot! Really helps see the scale of the terrain you are making..and man is it awesome! Everyone on the web is going to be jealous of the games played on this board.

    1. Yeah, my wife hates it when we go to flea markets or outdoor sales and i spend time looking at old toys and statues. I am still kicking myself for not picking up a head of a sphinx for $10 at a flea market this summer. That would have fit in nicely with desert terrain i have in the works. I think i paid like $7 for the skull. Much cheap and better looking than a GW plastic skull.

  2. Thanks for sharing. It looks awesome.

  3. Looks great. It's a very characterful piece of terrain and will add a lot to your board. Wondeful.